The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto, with variants of concern increasing both the risk of transmission and the risk of serious illness or death. Stronger public health measures are required to reverse the surge of infection that the province currently faces.
Given the evidence, Toronto Public Health (TPH) appreciates the value of in-person learning, and firmly believes that schools should be the first places in our community to open, and the last to close. TPH has worked closely with its partners including local school boards, municipal leaders and our provincial counterparts. Unfortunately, current circumstances require that difficult decisions must be taken locally to protect all those in our school communities, including students, teachers and staff.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, is issuing a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, that requires all elementary and secondary school students to transition to online/remote learning effective Wednesday, April 7 at 12:01 a.m. The order will be in place from April 7 to 18, which will bring students to the end of the April break. An extension of this order may be considered based on COVID-19 epidemiological data for Toronto.
Licensed child care programs will not be permitted to offer care to children whose schools are required to be closed under the order, with the exception of emergency child care for those who qualify.
TPH appreciates that this decision places additional burden on many including students, staff and families, and especially those with younger children and fewer supports. The health and safety of students and staff remains a priority for TPH. This action is being taken in an effort to keep our communities safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Media contact: Toronto Public Health Media Relations, TPHmedia@toronto.ca